Meet Taisa

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Tell us a bit more about what you were up to before joining the Roundhouse team.
My previous experience includes leading the Global Accounts Team at ZIVA, a manufacturer of strength training gym equipment, based in Shanghai, China. I provided account management and product training to ZIVA distributors in over 80 countries and founded ZIVA's "Live to Give" CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiative. Additional experience includes delivering marketing strategy and consulting services as the founder of The Brightbird Group, a Shanghai-based project management company. After working in Asia for nine years and dedicating a year to partnering with social ventures and poverty alleviation projects in Africa, I returned to Canada. I worked at the Alberta School of Business (University of Alberta) last year and have now moved over to MacEwan, on the #brightandbetter side of the river.

What’s your newest hobby?Taisa Mountain

Trail running! I signed up for a trail race last year and I absolutely loved it! I decided to get more into it this year and finally just got a new pair of trekking shoes so I could stop tree hugging my way down steep hills. If you know of any gorgeous river valley trails I should check out, let me know! My favourite so far is MacTaggart Sanctuary Path.

Tell us something we would be surprised to know about you.

If I wasn’t in the room, my friends would likely tell you that I have “traveled everywhere” — not quite true, but "everywhere" is on my list. I’ve been to 59 countries to date.

They also might tell you that I am a ninja.This is also a lie, but I did manage to earn my fourth degree black belt in Taekwondo in my yonder years.

Lastly, they are very likely to tell you that I am an avid journaler. This is true! I fly through 8+ journals a year and am pretty sure I single-handedly keep Moleskine in business.


What are you most looking forward to about your new position at Roundhouse?
Meeting everyone, including Roundhouse members and staff who are dedicated to using their skills to make a positive impact! I look forward to learning their stories and hearing what drives them. I am very grateful for the opportunity to work alongside such like-minded and fun changemakers.

What is your mantra, or words to live by?Taisa in Africa

Go low and go slow. Aka, be humble and be patient

I have moved around a lot in the past ten years, which meant that I had to integrate into new cultures, workplaces and friendships time and time again. One thing I have realized, is that every environment has their own honour system and taken for granted scripts. If I rush into a new place and just want to change it, I likely commit a bunch of cultural faux pas while doing so.

“Going low” is about honouring the people, practices and processes already in place in the environment I have just joined. When doing development work in Africa for example, I could not do work in a village unless I first met with the village chief, honoured them with gifts and garnered their approval. Going low means adopting the local practices of honour and hospitality, so long as they don’t conflict with your personal convictions.

“Going slow” is all about giving myself time to observe a new place or group of people before making any judgments about it. It is easy for us to assume that the way we do things is the best way and enter new environments with our own biases. Going slow allows me to unravel why things are done a certain way and in being patient, I often find that there is “method to the madness” and my desired changes might not be so helpful after all.

Choosing to “go low and go slow” has really helped me successfully transition and integrate from one culture or place to the next. Give it a go!